Introduction: Kiritimati is a remote Pacific Island with a high rate of type 2 diabetes (∼30%), potentially related to high sugar consumption starting early in life. This pilot study aimed to determine the effects of a short-term sugar-reduction intervention in Kiritimati teenagers.
Methods: The two high schools on the island were randomly assigned to a 7-day sugar-reduction intervention group (n=46) or control group (n=32). The intervention consisted of installation of a water filter at the school, distribution of individual water bottles, and a sugar-reduction presentation by a registered dietitian. 24-hour diet recalls were conducted at baseline and follow-up. Continuous blood glucose monitors (CGMs; FreeStyle Libre Pro) were used to assess 94 interstitial glucose measures over 14 days. A difference-in-differences analysis was used to address baseline differences between the schools. Data are presented as mean ± SD.
Results: At baseline, overweight/obesity prevalence was 50% (control group) vs. 43% (intervention group); age 17.2 ± 1.6 vs. 16.8 ± 1.8 years; mean blood glucose 88.3 ± 7.8 vs. 89.3 ± 31.5 mg/dL; added sugar consumption 122 ± 87 vs. 139 ± 77g/day; and %kcal from added sugars 18.3 ± 10.4 vs. 20.1 ± 9.5%. After the intervention, added sugar consumption decreased to 39 ± 47g (7.3 ± 8.3%kcal) in the intervention group without changing (133 ± 116g/19.2 ± 9.7%kcal) in the control group (time x group interaction p=0.003). However, there were no significant effects on any of the CGM measures.
Conclusion: Despite high rates of type 2 diabetes on the island as a whole, blood glucose was normal in high-school teenagers, and was unaffected by the intervention. However, added sugar consumption was high (∼20 %kcal), which was greatly improved after the intervention (∼7 %kcal). This study suggests that a simple sugar-reduction intervention could improve diet quality in teenagers on Pacific Islands with high rates of type 2 diabetes such as Kiritimati.
J. Plows: None. C. Rios: None. P. Berger: None. R.B. Jones: None. T.L. Alderete: None. S. Steinberg: None. T. Bangao: None. E. Beale: None. M.I. Goran: Advisory Panel; Self; Yumi. Other Relationship; Self; Penguin Random House.